Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Teaching Manners to a Monster

Ziggy is a 200-pound St. Bernard just pulled from rescue. He may have never been out of his yard. He has certainly never been walked on a leash.

Ziggy is not just big, without manners, direction, or training, he is a walking danger to himself, his owner, and everyone else around him.

This is a dog that can drag himself and his owner into traffic, drag everyone into a dog fight, and easily dislocate a shoulder, or pull someone into a serious fall.

This is a video of Ziggy's first-ever training session with Sean O'Shea at The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles.

Ziggy is not a bad dog. No aggression issues. He's just a VERY BIG dog who has never been taught anything or been given much experience.

As you can imagine, his new owner was freaked out by the sheer power of the dog, and had the good sense to go to a professional dog trainer with more than one trick in his bag.

As you can see, Sean O'Shea is a well-muscled fellow and not old. Even with a prong collar and a dominant dog collar for backup and safety, however Ziggy has more power than can be easily controlled with a leash alone.

The good news is that Sean had also put an E-Collar Technologies Boss Collar on Ziggy.

Using the leash and the e-collar in tandem, Sean quickly works Ziggy into doing short recalls and turn arounds. Once Ziggy gets the hang of that, Sean starts training him to do a controlled walk at heel.

Massive improvements occur very quickly. and without a lot of drama or jerking.

This is a terrific example of the value and power of e-collar training, especially for people with limited upper body strength, shoulder injuries, and/or very large dogs.

Ziggy is running at about 45 or 55 on a Boss Collar here. For reference, my small terriers run at 3 (Misto) and 6 (Moxie and Mountain) on their Educator collars, made by the the same company.

Again, this is what makes the modern e-collar so terrific; they are like expandable wrenches that work on different sized nuts. They can be adjusted up and down to suit the dog and the circumstances, and they enable training with much better timing than can normally be given with a leash, especially at a distance.

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